Swiss design studio Rinspeed has released the details on its annual Geneva Motor Show concept and it is once again electrically driven. Unlike the Lotus Elise-based amphibious Squba from two years ago, this one is a fresh design that looks like a mix of Fiat 500 and Smart Fortwo. The diminutive battery-powered "urban commuter" dubbed UC? (yes, with the question mark) is designed to provide drivers with flexible transportation options.
Like other urban electric vehicles (EVs), the UC? has a limited nominal range of only 65 miles per charge. Rinspeed has procured a lithium ion battery pack from LiTec, the German joint venture between Evonik and Daimler AG. The UC? adapts the perpendicular parking concept pioneered by the Smart to help extend its useful range. While Smarts are sometimes parked bumper to the curb in European cities Rinspeed has developed a train car loading system that allows UC? drivers to roll on and off and then relax as they travel between cities. Since most European trains are electrically powered, even inter-city travel remains zero emissions (at least directly).
Rinspeed has worked with suppliers to address the shortcomings of EVs, including cold weather heating. Eberspacher has developed an innovative high-voltage, high-efficiency heating system that can crank up to 60 degrees Celsius in just 30 seconds. The UC? has been designed with series production in mind and Rinspeed is apparently looking for partners. The lengthy press release is after the jump.